BenGen Info Complete Index Genealogy Page
Blish Genealogy Formatting, Timeline Concept and Structure, Database Source and Structure
are all copyright © 1999-2006 Charles Benjamin Blish
Genealogy data is free of copyright restrictions

1380I
James Benjamin Blish, B.Sc., Ed. (***) 10 [m]
10th Generation

Personal Details
Born May 23rd, 1921
Birthplace East Orange, New Jersey, USA
Baptized No Entry
Baptized at... No Entry
Baptized by... No Entry
Baptized in... No Entry
Occupation(s) Science fiction author, reader, editor, critic, public relations counsel, musician, poet
Died July 30th, 1975, aged about 54 years
Died at... Henly-on-Thames, Harpsden, county of Oxfordshire, England
Cause of Death Recurrent cancer per smoking, metastisized.
Burial Place St. Cross Church Cemetery, Oxford, England
Disposition Burial

Parents
Father [1324]Asa Rhodes Blish, (***) 9
Mother [1324_sa]Dorothea (Schneewind) Blish 9

Spouses, Mates & Children
Wife #1
[1380I_sa] - Mildred "VK" Virginia (Kidd) Blish 10

Married by: No Entry
Married at: No Entry

Children by this spouse:
I [1402A] Asa Benjamin Blish 11 b. December 10th, 1947 c. March No Image On File
II [1403]+ Dorothea Elisabeth (Blish) Genly, CNM, B.A. Lit., M.S. Nursing 11 b. Living - Suppressed Living - Suppressed
III [1402B] Master Charles Benjamin Blish, 5th dan 11 b. Living - Suppressed Living - Suppressed

VK's epitaph:
Ad Astra
Wife #2
[1380I_sb] - Judith "Judy" Ann (Lawrence) Blish 10

Married by: No Entry
Married at: No Entry

Children by this spouse:
No Records of Children

Immediate Family Tree
Gen. 10 Gen. 9 Gen. 8 Gen. 7 Gen. 6
James Benjamin Blish, B.Sc., Ed. (***)Asa Rhodes Blish, (***)James Knox Blish, (***)Charles Cheney Blish, (***)Colonel Sylvester Blish, (***)
Rhoda (Cheney) Blish
Elizabeth Potter (Bonar) BlishMatthew Bonar
Catharine (Cosner) Bonar
Amy Mason (Rhodes) BlishAlbert Rhodes? Rhodes
? (?) Rhodes
Ann Elizabeth (Read) Rhodes? Read
? (?) Read
Dorothea (Schneewind) BlishBenjamin, von SchneewindFerdinand, von Schneewind?, von Schneewind
? (?), von Schneewind
Babesh "Babette" (?), von SchneewindNo Entry
No Entry
Lucie Obedine (Wickham) SchneewindThomas Gregory WickhamNo Entry
No Entry
Harriet (Lacey) WickhamObediah Pierpoint Lacey
Lucy (Pelletier) Lacey

Personalized History Timeline, 1921 to 1975
1899-1923:
6th Cholera pandemic from before birth until age 2
1910-1936:
Reign of King George V (Windsor) from before birth until age 15
1918-1933:
Prohibition from before birth until age 12
1920-1929:
Roaring 20's from before birth until age 8
1921-1924:
Warren G Harding president of US from age 0 to age 3
1922:
Insulin made available to diabetics at age 1
1925-1928:
Calvin Coolidge president of US from age 4 to age 7
1925:
Scopes trial on Evolutionary Theory at age 4
1926:
Sound in Movies at age 5
1927:
Holland Tunnel opens (New York City) at age 6
1927:
1st transAtlantic solo flight - Lindbergh at age 6
1928:
Video Recordings at age 7
1928:
Television at age 7
1928:
Geiger Counter at age 7
1928:
Penicillin discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming at age 7
1929-1932:
Herbert Hoover president of US from age 8 to age 11
1929:
Stock Market Crash at age 8
1929-1939:
Great Depression from age 8 to age 18
1930:
Pluto Discovered at age 9
1931-1933:
Chinese-Japanese war (2) from age 10 to age 12
1931:
Sees April issue of Astounding Stories (in June) at age 10
1932:
First pub. letter in Astounding Stories at age 11
1933:
Armstrong invents FM modulation at age 12
1933:
Radio Astronomy at age 12
1933:
Soviet communist party purge at age 12
1933-1945:
Franklin D Roosevelt president of US from age 12 to age 24
1934:
Longshoreman's strike - 35,000 on strike for 83 days at age 13
1935:
Dustbowl at age 14
1935-1936:
Abyssinian war from age 14 to age 15
1936:
Helicopter at age 15
1936:
Spanish Civil War at age 15
1936:
Reign of King Edward VIII (Windsor) at age 15
1936-1952:
Reign of King George VI (Windsor) from age 15 to age 31
1937:
Nylon (by DuPont) at age 16
1937-1945:
Chinese-Japanese war (3) from age 16 to age 24
1938:
Germany annexes Austria at age 17
1939:
Aircraft Jet Engine invented (by Ohain) at age 18
1939-1945:
World War II from age 18 to age 24
1939:
Digital Computer at age 18
1939-1942:
Zoology @ Rutgers, B.Sc Ed from age 18 to age 21
1940:
1st pub. SF: Emergency Refueling (March Super Science Stories) at age 19
1940:
1st black general in US army at age 19
1940:
Color Television at age 19
1941-1945:
Manhattan Project from age 20 to age 24
1942:
Nuclear Reactor at age 21
1942-1944:
Serving in US army from age 21 to age 23
1942:
Magnetic Recording Tape at age 21
1944-1946:
Grad school @ columbia from age 23 to age 25
1945-1952:
Harry S Truman president of US from age 24 to age 31
1945:
United Nations formed at age 24
1945:
US drops the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at age 24
1945:
Hypertext at age 24
1946:
The Bikini at age 25
1946-1989:
The Cold War from age 25 until after line end
1947:
UN partitions Palestine to Jewish and Arab sections at age 26
1947:
Transistor at age 26
1947-1964:
Marriage to V. Kidd from age 26 to age 43
1947:
Son Asa is born at age 26
1947:
India and Pakistan emerge from ex-British India at age 26
1948:
Arabs attack Israel on the day it is inaugurated at age 27
1948:
Israel inaugurated as state at age 27
1948:
33 1/3 rpm musical recordings at age 27
1948:
Father Asa dies at age 27
1948:
NATO formed at age 27
1948:
Son Asa dies at age 27
1949:
Apartheid policy in South Africa at age 28
1949:
45 rpm musical recordings at age 28
1949:
Soviets detonate first nuclear bomb at age 28
1950-1954:
McCarthyism from age 29 to age 33
1950:
World pop. est. at 2.4 billion at age 29
1950-1953:
Korean War from age 29 to age 32
1950:
Bunche 1st black to win Nobel Peace Prize at age 29
1951:
Electricity from Atomic Power at age 30
1952:
1st Thermonuclear Device Detonated at age 31
1952-2050:
Reign of Queen Elizabeth II (Windsor) from age 31 until after line end
1953:
(Retro/2004) Hugo award forA Case of Conscience (novella) at age 32
1953:
(Retro/2004) Hugo award for Earthman Come Home (novelette) at age 32
1953:
Moves to Arrowhead estate in Milford, PA at age 32
1953-1960:
Dwight D Eisenhower president of US from age 32 to age 39
1954:
Racial segregation in schools ruled unconstitutional at age 33
1954:
Daughter Elisabeth is born at age 33
1955:
Pennsylvania Flood of August 1955 from Hurricane Dianne at age 34
1955:
Invention of Velcro at age 34
1955:
Fiber Optics (by Kapany) at age 34
1955:
Warsaw pact formed at age 34
1955-1959:
Wrks for Chas. Pfizer and Co. from age 34 to age 38
1955:
Introduction of Salk Polio Vaccine at age 34
1956:
Ocean liner Andrea Doria collides with the Stockholm, sinks at age 35
1956:
Son Charles Benjamin is born at age 35
1957:
Sputnik Launched - 1st (artificial) satellite at age 36
1958:
FM Stereo Broadcasts at age 37
1958:
Integrated Circuit at age 37
1958:
Wins Hugo Award at age 37
1958:
US space agency (NASA) established at age 37
1958:
Stereo LP recordings come into usage at age 37
1959:
Hugo Award - A Case of Conscience (novel) at age 38
1959:
Hawaii enters the union - 50th at age 38
1959:
1st nuclear powered merchant vessel, Savannah at age 38
1959:
Alaska enters the union - 49th at age 38
1960:
Laser at age 39
1960:
Guest of honor, World SF convention at age 39
1960-1962:
Works for Hill and Knowton from age 39 to age 41
1960:
Pantyhose at age 39
1960:
World subsurface circumnavigation by US sub Triton at age 39
1960:
1st weather satellite (Tiros I) at age 39
1961-1970:
7th Cholera pandemic from age 40 to age 49
1961:
First human in space - Yuri Gagarin at age 40
1961:
1st US manned spaceflight - Alan Shephard at age 40
1961-1963:
John F Kennedy president of US from age 40 to age 42
1962-1965:
Vatican II from age 41 to age 44
1962-1968:
Works for Tobacco Institute from age 41 to age 47
1962:
Cuban missile crisis at age 41
1963:
1st artificial heart at age 42
1963-1968:
Lyndon B Johnson president of US from age 42 to age 47
1963:
Pres. Kennedy Assassinated at age 42
1963:
Compact Cassette Recordings at age 42
1964-1975:
Marriage to J. Lawerence from age 43 to age 54
1964:
Divorce from Virginia Kidd at age 43
1964:
US civil rights bill at age 43
1964-1975:
Vietnam War from age 43 to age 54
1965:
1st spacewalks (US, USSR) at age 44
1965:
Blacks riot in Watts neighborhood, Los Angeles at age 44
1965:
Nebula nomination for The Shipwrecked Hotel at age 44
1966:
8-track tape players at age 45
1966-1969:
Living in Alexandria, VA from age 45 to age 48
1966:
1st soft landings on moon (US, USSR) at age 45
1967:
Six day war: Israel-Arabs at age 46
1967:
1st human heart transplant at age 46
1967-1970:
Nigerian civil war from age 46 to age 49
1967:
Marshall 1st black supreme court justice at age 46
1967:
Physicist John Wheeler coins the term Black Hole at age 46
1968:
Robert Kennedy assassinated at age 47
1968:
Martin Luther King assassinated at age 47
1968:
Nebula nomination for Black Easter (novel) at age 47
1968-1975:
Freelance Writing from age 47 to age 54
1969-1975:
Living in England from age 48 to age 54
1969-1974:
Richard M. Nixon president of US from age 48 to age 53
1969:
Woodstock Music Festival at age 48
1969:
Moon Landing - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin at age 48
1970:
Nat. Guard murders 4 students at Kent State at age 49
1970:
Guest of honor, British Eastercon at age 49
1970:
Microprocessor at age 49
1970:
Nebula nomination for A Style in Treason (novella) at age 49
1971:
Intel ships 1st uProcessor: the 4004 at age 50
1971:
Pakistani civil war at age 50
1973:
The Internet at age 52
1973:
October war (Israel-Arabic nations) at age 52
1974-1976:
Gerald Ford president of US from age 53 until after line end
1974:
Pres. Nixon resigns in disgrace at age 53
1975:
The 1st home computer: The Altair 8800a at age 54
1975:
Ebola virus appears - 90 percent lethal at age 54
1975:
Byte Magazine, issue #1 - September at age 54

Additional Information
James Benjamin Blish acheived fame all over the world as one of the "founding fathers" of the Science Fiction community. He helped to found the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and was published in many languages. During his career he received Science Fiction's top award, the Hugo Award, as well as many other lesser honors. After his death, an award for criticism was created in his name. The first winner of the James Blish award was Brian Aldiss, in 1977. On July 5th, 2002, James Blish was posthumously inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

For a truly detailed look at this Blish family member, the following work is recommended:

Imprisoned in a Tesseract
The life and work of James Blish

author David Ketterer

ISBN Number 0-87338-334-6

From the perspective of this writer (the son of James Blish), Professor Ketterer's account treats James Blishes life with somewhat of a more negative view than it deserves. The impression is gathered, when reading this title, that James Blish was not a happy man. Yet I definitely recall many bright smiles, laughter, and a sharp sense of humor, reports of which seem to be uniformly lacking in this volume. Still, you are unlikely to find such a wealth of information about my father anywhere else, and I do find the volume definitely worth reading. I only ask that you do keep in mind that he certainly did have a happy side to his life, no matter that Ketterer fails to portray it with any significance. James Blish, Ben Blish, Beth Blish
The only one that looks unhappy is me - my father looks perfectly delighted with life, despite my sour puss...

Here are some photos of the science fiction titles of James Benjamin Blish:

Here is James Blishes very first appearance in print, anywhere, in the letters section of Astounding Stories, at the tender age of 11 years old. This appeared in the readers comments section for the September 1932 issue.

From the Collection of Charles B. Blish From the Collection of Charles B. Blish

Here is an interesting letter he wrote to Astonishing Stories in 1940:

Dear Editor:

Good work on Astonishing Stories. "The Lifestone" and "Asteroid" were expert jobs, the others not down to 10c standard but not as good as these two by wide margins. Cover very good, interiors all a little crude except the one illustrating "Half-Breed". Where is Leo Morey now? He is not as good as he used to be, but he's better than anybody you have but Eron. Or get Binder to do some more interiors.

I hope that before you print another letter like "4E's" (whoever he may be) you will take steps to make it readable. Illiteracy is unpardonable, but such an obviously deliberate attempt at artificial illiteracy is in bad taste and ought to be corrected rather carefully or not printed at all.

Congrats, and I hope Super Science Stories is as good, despite the handicap of a story by me.

-- Jim Blish, 12 Washington Terrace, East Orange, New Jersey.

From the Collection of Charles B. Blish
This is the pulp referred to in the letter that contains James Blish's very first published SF story

Tom Purdom shares the following fascinating anecdote:

One of the science fiction writers I read as a teenager was named James Blish. The visions he scattered across the pages of the science fiction magazines included a popular series of stories in which the cities of Earth acquired domes and anti-gravity motors and became giant spaceships that roamed the galaxy.

Jim wrote a lot of other things beside the Cities in Flight series and one of them generated an anecdote that has become a permanent component of my personal life support system. It is an incident that sums up, I think, part of the connection between the boy who sat at his work table building model airplanes and the slightly older boy who sits at his desk putting words on a computer screen.

One of Jim's short stories was based on some real research in some aspect of psychology such as the chemistry of memory. Years ago, at a science fiction convention in Philadelphia, he came up to me with his face glowing with excitement. He had just been approached by a young woman who had come to the convention because she had seen an advertisement that announced he would be there. She had read his story when she had been a girl and she had been so fascinated by the ideas in it that she had looked up the research the story had been based on and acquired a permanent interest in psychology. She had come to the convention because she had wanted him to know she had just received her Ph.D. in psychology. She had even brought him something to autograph-- a copy of the original scientific paper that described the research he had used in his story.

I had no trouble understanding why Jim looked so ecstatic. I've always been glad he told me about that encounter. It's the kind of memory I pull out of my organic data banks whenever I wonder why any sane person should spend his life tapping out sentences on a keyboard. It isn't the most important reason writers write, but it's important enough. I probably wouldn't want to read very many words by any writer who didn't light up when something like that happened. He had sent copies of his story sailing through the world like paper airplanes and one of them had landed in the mind of a young girl. And she had flown.

Some Interesting Tidbits

  • James Blish coined the now commonly used astronomical phrase "Gas Giant"

The following is the obituary that appeared in The New York Times on Thursday, July 31, 1975.

It suffers from the typical shallowness of newpaper reporting, and carries some rather blatant errors for an obituary (for instance, it notes that his son Benjamin survived him, but neglects to mention his daughter, Elizabeth, by the same marriage two years previous to the son, and states that he had "written" Star Trek when in fact he novelized Star Trek scripts, with one major exception.)

Even so, the mention in the paper is another confirming indication that his life, and his death, were of considerable note to society at large:

JAMES BLISH, 54, WRITER, IS DEAD

His Science Fiction Includes Mirabilis and Fallen Star

LONDON, July 30 - James Blish, the science fiction writer, died today in his home at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, after a long illness. He was 54 years old.

Mr. Blish leaves a wife, the former Judy Ann Lawrence, an artist and writer, and a son by his earlier marriage to Virginia Kidd.

Witches Were Subject

Mr. Blish's best known works included Fallen Star, Titan's Daughter, and A Torrent of Faces with Norman Knight.

Others were Jack of Eagles, Earthman Come Home, The Frozen Year, A Case of Conscience, Galactic Cluster, Dr. Miribilis and Black Easter. He also wrote There Shall be no Darkness, a novel about witches included with other stories in Witches Three.

Of Mr. Blish's novel about witches a reviewer in The New York Times commented that the omnibus was "one more proof that science fiction is really growing up."

Anatole Broyard, reviewing Dr. Miribilis in The New York Times, remarked that the book, a study of Roger Bacon, the 13th century scientist and philosopher, was based on a massive study of the man, his age, his thought, his books (more than 22 tomes) and the lives and works of his contemporaries Albertus Magnus, the scholastic, and Thomas Aquinas, the philospoher.

Mr. Broyard added: "A highly regarded science-fiction writer, the author is a passionate medievalist as well, and this book is obviously a labor of love. If love is not blind, it is at least partial, and Mr. Blish elevates Bacon at the expense of Albertus and Aquinas."

Of Earthman Come Home, a reviewer in The Times Book Review said it "surpasses even the high Blish standards, and offers that very rare thing, a wholly new concept of the far future."

The novel depicted vagabond cities wandering in space, with New York City as the "hero," roaming through the galaxy long after it had cut loose from its home planet.

Mr. Blish also wrote several books of poetry and had written Star Trek, based on the NBC-TV series created by Gene Roddenberry.

He was born in Orange, N.J. in 1921, and moved to England in 1968.


Blish Genealogy Formatting, Timeline Concept and Structure, Database Source and Structure
are all copyright © 1999-2006 Charles Benjamin Blish
Genealogy data is free of copyright restrictions
Generated by BenGen V0.R32